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  • Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II (Warthog) Close Air Support (CAS) / Forward Air Control (FAC)


    The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II features the awesome tank-killing 30mm GAU-8 Gatling Gun in its nose as standard.

     Updated: 6/18/2017; Authored By Dan Alex; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com


    The A-10 Thunderbolt II was designed exclusively to fulfill the Close-Air Support (CAS) role from the outset, perhaps matched only in scope by the Soviet/Russian Sukhoi Su-25 "Frogfoot". The terminology inherent in "Close-Air Support" was generally defined in a variety of ways by each respective nation (and perhaps further viewed differently by even individual commanders). The Vietnam War showcased such a need for the United States Air Force, where their thirsty, high-flying jets could do little in the way of directly supporting troops in contact with the enemy by roaming on station until called and then heading in to deliver payloads with pinpoint accuracy. Additionally, these aircraft held little in the way of dealing directly with heavy armor systems, their 20mm Vulcan cannons useful in engaging other aircraft and perhaps even light-skinned vehicles. Helicopter gunships provided some solution to the problem but no true dedicated systems existed - apart from say the prop-driven Douglas A-1 Skyraider. An answer was needed and that answer would become the Fairchild Republic A-10 tank-killing "Warthog".

    The Tank Buster in WW2

    Tank busting elements played a crucial role in World War 2 where tank-on-tank battles often times moved the war in one direction of the other. As such, all sides delved into the development of aircraft with suitable armament to deal with enemy armor. Perhaps the best known of these became the Junkers Ju 87 Stuka, armed with two underwing cannons pods with the projectile velocity to penetrate the armor of Soviet tanks. This exercise no doubt showcased the value of a dedicated tank busting system but even in the years after the war, no party put forth a capable design, feeling other systems were more than efficient at the CAS role.


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    Fairchild Republic A-10A Thunderbolt II (Warthog) Technical Specifications


    Service Year: 1976
    Type: Close Air Support (CAS) / Forward Air Control (FAC)
    National Origin: United States
    Manufacturer(s): Fairchild Republic Aviation - USA
    Production Total: 713



    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)


    Operating Crew: 1
    Length: 53.31 feet (16.25 meters)
    Width: 57.51 feet (17.53 meters)
    Height: 14.67 feet (4.47 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 27,999 lb (12,700 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 51,998 lb (23,586 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance


    Engine(s): 2 x General Electric TF34-GE-100 non-afterburning turbofan engines developing 9,065 lb of thrust each.

    Maximum Speed: 439 mph (707 kph; 382 knots)
    Maximum Range: 474 miles (763 km)
    Service Ceiling: 34,695 feet (10,575 meters; 6.57 miles)
    Rate-of-Climb: 6,000 feet-per-minute (1,829 m/min)

    Armament / Mission Payload


    STANDARD, FIXED:
    1 x 30mm General Electric GAU-8/A seven-Barrel Gatling Gun mounted under the nose.

    OPTIONAL:
    Up to 16,000 pounds (7,200 kilograms) of mixed ordnance across eleven underwing and underfuselage pylon stations, including:

    AGM-65 Maverick Missiles (IR/Laser homing)
    AIM-9 Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles
    2.75-inch Rocket Pods
    Mk 82 Series 500lb Bombs
    Mk 84 Series 2,000lb Bombs
    Incendiary Cluster Bombs
    Combined Effects Munitions
    Mine Dispensing Munitions
    Paveway Laser-guided / Electro-Optically Guided Bombs.
    Infra-red Countermeasure Flares
    Electronic Countermeasure Chaff
    Jammer Pods
    Illumination Flares

    Global Operators / Customers


    United States

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)


    YA-10 - Initial Prototype Model Designation; two examples produced.

    YA-10A - Pre-Production Model Designation of which six were completed for evaluation.

    A-10A - Base Production Model; dedicated Close-Air Support (CAS); single-seat.

    YA-10B - Proposed Two-Seat Prototype; all-weather/night-attack weapons platform; single example produced.

    A-10C - Upgraded/Improved A-10 system; made operational in September of 2007; modernized "glass" digital cockpit; improved datalink function; improved weapons management system.

    OA-10A - Observation Variant Model / Dedicated Forward Air Control (FAC); single-seat; based on A-10A production models and identical to them in both structure and appearance.